DAVAO (MindaNews / 27 July) – Two halfway homes will be constructed in the municipalities of Kiblawan and Matanao in Davao del Sur where pregnant women from farflung areas can stay days ahead of their scheduled delivery to encourage them to give birth at the public hospitals.
Dr. Azucena Dayanghirang, provincial health officer, told reporters they hope to address the major travel concerns of the pregnant women going to public healthcare facilities.
She said that most of the women in geographically isolated areas would opt to deliver in their homes, as they complained that it is taxing going to healthcare facilities and be attended to by a midwife or a doctor.
“The pregnant women can be accommodated to the halfway homes, so that they can go immediately to hospitals if they feel that they are about to give birth,” Dayanghirang said. “That’s one way of bringing the services closer to them.”
She added that the pregnant women are also encouraged to undergo four prenatal check ups to determine their condition whether their pregnancy is normal or high-risk to prevent deaths of pregnant mothers and their babies.
Dayanghirang said that Davao del Sur has so far recorded five maternal deaths this year.
“Prenatal is where the health personnel – the midwife, nurse, and doctor – can decide, if the pregnancy is normal or high-risk, especially among women in the farflung areas… That’s very important for others and the child, we should advocate that prenatal is important in women’s life,” she said.
Dayanghirang said the mothers would not mind undergoing prenatal checkup unless they feel anything wrong with their pregnancy.
She said that a pregnant mother should be healthy in order to give birth to a healthy baby.
Dr. Maria Theresa Ungson, director of the National Nutrition Council (NNC) in Region 11, said that the first 1,000 days of a child, beginning conception inside the mother’s womb, is important to prevent stunting due to lack of proper nutrition.
In many cases, she said that stunted babies usually have malnourished mothers.
“They have been suffering form long-term malnutrition. That’s already chronic. We want to address the stunting. it’s easier to solve the undernutrition but we need to work hard to improve the child’s height,” she said.
Ungson said that stunting can be addressed but not until when the child turns two years old. “Beyond that we can no longer deal with it,” Ungson said.
“The window of opportunity to address the stunting is up to two years old of a child. That’s how important the bodies of the females are, the health of a woman would also have an effect on the child,” she said.
Ungson said Davao del Sur – particularly, Digos City, Hagonoy and Magsaysay municipalities – is among the 10 provinces in the country chosen as pilot areas for the three-year Early Childhood Care Development program in a bid to ensure the full development of the child through integrated social services from 2016 to 2018.
Some 9,526 pregnant mothers, zero to five-month-old infants, and six to 23-month-old children, are expected to benefit from the program in 69 barangays in Digos and the two towns.
Aside from Davao del Sur, the program covers the provinces of Pangasinan, Quezon, Camarines Sur, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Leyte Zamboanga del Sur, and Sulu. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)